OEM VENDORS including Asus, Acer, Toshiba and Lenovo will launch a raft of Intel Bay Trail chip powered Chromebooks later this year, making Chrome OS notebooks more powerful, lighter and longer running.
Announcing the news at a Chrome OS event in San Francisco on Tuesday, Intel VP of mobile client platforms Navin Shenoy said the Bay Trail chip will see "significant changes" in Chromebooks with higher performance in silent, fanless models.
Shenoy said the Intel Bay Trail Chromebooks will also be 15 percent lighter and thinner than previous Intel Haswell chip powered Chromebooks while offering around 11 hours of battery life, up from 10 hours.
The first Bay Trail Chromebook will hit shop shelves sometime this summer, Intel said, with all four OEMs - Acer, Asus, Toshiba and Lenovo - introducing their devices before the end of the year. A Bay Trail edition of the Lenovo N20p, which was announced today, will be one of these, and should hit the shelves sometime in August. No pricing was mentioned for the Bay Trail Chromebooks.
Intel launched its 22nm Atom update codenamed Bay Trail at IDF in San Francisco last year, bringing two Atom Z3000 series system on chip (SoC) processors to the market. These were aimed at doubling the performance of Android and upcoming Windows 8.1 tablets, but now it seems that Chrome OS is also a focus for the chipmaker.
Intel also said that there will be two Bay Trail based Chromebooks made for the education and retail markets coming later this year, based on the same multimode Yoga designs as Lenovo's previous school focused Chromebooks.
There will also be some updates coming to Chromebooks that are already established in the market, Intel said, with vendors releasing some low-end Chromebook models based on Intel's more powerful Core i3 processor, replacing Celeron. Acer will release a Chromebook for $349 this summer, along with Dell, which will be adding a Core i3 version of its Chromebook 11 later this year.
Additions to the Haswell family later this year will include an HP Chromebox coming in June, which Shenoy said could be popular for use behind displays for digital signage, as well as the LG Chromebase, which will retail for $349 when it goes on sale in the US later this month.
Google VP of product management Caesar Sengupta joined Shenoy on stage to announce that Google Now will be added to Chrome OS within the next few weeks, offering the ability to watch TV shows and movies offline. µ